PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden on Thursday night unveiled a $1.9trillion Covid-19 rescue plan to speed up the country’s response to the pandemic and boost the economy.
Biden‘s American Rescue Plan includes $415billion to combat the pandemic, including $160billion for a national vaccination program to push faster rollout of vaccines and expand testing.
President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a Covid rescue planCredit: Twitter
It also includes $1,400 stimulus checks and boosts supplemental unemployment benefits from $300 to $400 per week through September.
Biden had been pushing Congress to increase the second round of $600 stimulus checks to $2,000, and his plan makes up for the difference.
But many Americans slammed Biden even before his address, as reports emerged that he was announcing checks for $1,400 rather than $2,000.
Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said there is “real pain overwhelming the real economy, one where people rely on paychecks, not their investments, to pay for their bills and their meals and their children’s needs.”
President-elect Joe Biden gave his address from DelawareCredit: AFP or licensors
“It’s not hard to see that we’re in the middle of a once-in-several-generations economic crisis with a once-in-several-generations public health crisis,” the president-elect said.
“We have to act, and we have to act now.”
The president-elect called the current coronavirus vaccine rollout a “dismal failure” and said he would lay out a vaccination plan on Friday around his goal to administer 100million shots in his first 100 days in office.
Biden said that the sooner Americans get vaccinated, “the sooner we can save lives and put this pandemic behind us and get back to our lives and our loved ones.”
Biden’s plan includes $415billion to combat the pandemicCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Some Twitter users slammed President-elect Joe Biden for offering $1,400 rather than $2,000 stimulus checksCredit: Twitter
His plan allocates $50billion to expand coronavirus testing and help local governments and schools implement regular testing systems.
The former vice president is also requesting $30billion for a disaster relief fund to provide protective gear and supplies and reimbursements for emergency response resources.
His plan also proposes about $440 billion for small businesses and communities devastated by the pandemic.
Biden downplayed the deficit spending in his plan and claimed that the huge investments to the damaged economy will lead to benefits that will “far surpass the costs.”
President-elect Joe Biden’s plan includes $1,400 stimulus checksCredit: Getty Images – Getty
President-elect Joe Biden’s plan boosts supplemental unemployment benefits from $300 to $400 per week Credit: Reuters
“I know what I just described does not come cheaply,” Biden said in his televised address, but added that the nation “simply cannot afford not to do what I’m proposing.”
Biden also asked Congress to extend the moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures until Sept. 30, and requested $30billion more to help Americans struggling to pay rent and utilities.
“In this pandemic in America, we cannot let people go hungry. We cannot let people get evicted,” Biden said.
“We cannot let nurses, educators and others lose their jobs when we so badly need them. We must act now and act decisively.”
The American Rescue Plan would boost additional unemployment benefits through September Credit: AP:Associated Press
Biden will also push Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, insisting that “no one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line.”
The president-elect did not take questions from reporters following his 30-minute address.
Biden’s speech came one day after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time.
Democrats have a narrow majority in the House and Senate but Biden may face opposition from Republicans, and a Senate trial on Trump’s impeachment could delay consideration of his package.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a joint statement praised Biden’s plan for including bigger stimulus checks and funding for local and state governments.
“We will get right to work to turn President-elect Biden’s vision into legislation that will pass both chambers and be signed into law,” they stated.